Let Me Be Singing When the Evening Comes

Easy to sing, hard to do

I thought I’d be typing this morning’s post, last night, as I sat near a crackling campfire chatting with my hubby, and maybe even sneaking one last s’more.  It would be our last night of a short camping vacation.  I would soak up the way the stars look further from the city, and the embers of the fire in the blackness of that summer night.

Instead, I sat next to piles of bedding that was waiting to be washed in hot water and listened for the whimpering of my Audrey.  What we thought was a tummy ache from the glorious exhaustion of playing with friends outside all weekend, revealed itself as the stomach flu as she ran out of our camper and into the grass to puke late yesterday afternoon.

Relieved temporarily, she fell asleep on the bed in the camper while Mark and I spent a frantic hour working to pack up dirty clothes, put away everything (we were camping with three kids–everything was out), bounce Beckett, and answer  Charlotte’s questions on the topic of tonight’s cancelled campfire.

“Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me, let me be singing when the evening comes.” (Matt Redman, “10,000 Reasons”)

That line has always struck me deeply.  It is so easy to sing and so difficult to do.  In the morning, when a new day fresh with God’s mercies lies ahead of me, it is easy to claim that I’ll be singing His praises when the evening comes.  And then come the changed plans, the stomach flu, the dirty bedding, and I have a choice.

I can choose to let my circumstances dictate by attitude of praise and thanksgiving, or I can choose to let my God dictate them.  The key to following through on singing when the evening comes lies in the second verse of the song, “You’re rich in love and you’re slow to anger.  Your name is great and Your heart is kind.”  Those 10,000 reasons that the heart can find for singing, have nothing to do with circumstances and everything to do with who God is.

If I believe my God is rich in love and His heart is kind, He deserves my singing even yesterday evening with puke stained sheets and a disappointed heart.  Join me this morning?  Tell the Lord that whatever this day brings, you’ll be singing His praises when the evening comes.


Moms: The Most Critical Group

Throwing off the Enemy's Plans to Divide Moms

We all know that kids can be incredibly cruel to one another, but we are members of a group that is even more critical of each other and exponentially more ruthless in our judgement of one another–moms.  Jesus-following moms need to behave differently toward one another.

In a culture in which mom are often judged (more critically than dads) on the health, appearance, and behavior of their children, other moms are the ones most likely handing out the poor ratings.  The list of why we moms so easily fall into judgmental behavior of other moms could be quite long, though,  I think our own insecurities would be reason number 1 on that list.

Remember, that the enemy is on the prowl every day to derail your morning? Well, he also works to bring division in groups that have incredible potential to bring glory to God were they to love each other deeply and cover each others’ failings.  He works to divide husbands and wives, parents from their children, the local church, and Jesus-following mommas.

Can you imagine with me, what God could do with a group of un-distracted, Jesus-following moms who were more concerned with running wholeheartedly towards His purposes and bringing people with us into eternity than they were with how other moms discipline (or feed their kids, or handle screen-time, or apply sunscreen).

The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth

in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

12 Chronicles 16:9a, NLT

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined

what God has prepared for those who love him.

1 Corinthians 2:9

So, let’s throw off our comparison games, our quick-to-make assumptions attitudes, our habits of pointing at flaws (even just mentally) rather than covering them.  Link arms with that momma on the library couch and the exhausted mom with her full grocery cart and screaming three-year-old and refuse to fall prey to the enemy’s schemes to divide us.

We can start throwing off these attitudes by cheering, praying and listening:

Cheer: you will never agree with everything other moms do, but find something you admire and compliment another mom.

Pray: when you notice and action to which before you would have assigned judgement, lift it to the Lord–ask Him to fill that momma with fresh strength and zeal for parenting (it’s exhausting, you know that).

Listen: give other moms opportunities to share their frustrations with you and listen–don’t listen to answer, to fix, to compare to your children, just listen.  And then, listen to the Holy Spirit for anything he may whisper to share with that mom.

Here we go, arm in arm–advancing the kingdom of God and throwing off the distractions of the enemy!  Join me, and share your thoughts on Facebook.

Let Him be the Dad

Stepping Back When Our Husbands Step Up

In my hustled efforts to make sure my children’s needs are met and love buckets are full, sometimes I knock my husband’s dad-legs right out from under him.  I forget to let him be the dad.

I know Charlotte’s code language for eggs over medium and just the right way to scramble Audrey’s eggs so she’ll devour them rather than pick at them for 20 minutes.  I can tell you how Beckett got the bonk on his forehead and predict (plus or minus 2 minutes) how long it will take him to bonk it again.  In the evening, when Charlotte easily falls apart over a misplaced bouncy ball, I understand because her nap was cut short for grocery shopping.

I am privileged to more of the details of our children’s days because I spend the days with them, while Mark goes out into the world.  Every weekday morning, he leaves with his coffee and his lunch to be used by God as a means of provision for our little family. Everyday he must choose to fight the good fight in the middle of a culture that tosses integrity out the window in lieu of making a little extra money on a business deal.

What a shift it must be for him to come home—still processing the events of his day—and try to catch up on the little, but significant, details of our day.  (The fun part is trying to decipher the details while Audrey & Charlotte talk over each other and Beckett clambers at his pants’ leg).

So, while I’m finishing dinner prep, and Charlotte starts whining about that misplaced bouncy ball, and he holds her to our standard of “a girl with whiny words may be in her room until her words can be sweet,” I swoop in and explain she missed part of her nap and it really isn’t her fault and, knock Daddy right on his bottom.  Charlotte observes that she can whine, when she’s tired, and if she’s not a fan of Daddy’s consequences, Mommy might swoop in anyway.  Yikes.

Now, is the whining that big of a deal?  Not really, especially if I have set her up to fail by not allowing her adequate time to rest.  But, is her seeing Daddy knocked down a big deal? Yes.  Is Mark feeling like I don’t trust his parenting, his discernment, his deep love for his children a big deal?

Double yes. 

So, when Daddy jumps in and provides discipline or consequences even if he doesn’t  have the whole story, I will remember that empowering him to be the dad is far more important than the impact of Audrey having an unnecessary time out or Charlotte losing bouncy ball privileges for the day.  As we moms spend our days immersed in the details of little lives, we make hundreds of mistakes, and as we grow, we trust God to honor our hearts, and as only He can, make our mistakes work for good in our children’s lives.

Can we trust God to do the same as our men come home and transition, in a matter of minutes, from fighting out in the world to fighting for God’s will in the lives of their children?  Can we decide to let them be the dads this week?

Join me in standing behind and beside our husbands as they father our children—let’s trust their love and His love to make even mistakes beautiful.